The global refugee crisis is more dire than at any point since the end of the Second World War, according to a report released yesterday by Amnesty International.
The report provides a partial picture of the disaster produced by global capitalism and the operations of imperialism in different parts of the world, with a focus on Syria, North Africa and the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Tens of millions of people have been forced to flee their homes, traveling great distances in an attempt to escape war, economic devastation and political persecution. Refugees often face deplorable conditions in the countries to which they flee, and with increasing regularity are turned away or perish during the journey.
Amnesty notes that in 2013, for the first time since the 1940s, the number of refugees was estimated at more than 50 million. In the ensuing two years, millions more have become refugees.
The situation in Syria and its neighboring countries in the Middle East is particularly dire. “More than half of Syria’s population is displaced,” including those displaced internally, according to the report. “Some four million women, men and children have fled the country and are refugees, making this one of the biggest refugee crises in history.”
Amnesty castigates the major powers for failing to provide assistance to the surging refugee population, many of whom have ended up in neighboring Lebanon (where 20 percent of the population now consists of Syrian refugees), Jordan and Turkey. It notes that the United Nation humanitarian appeal for $4.5 billion to aid Syrian refugees had reached only 23 percent of its goal by early June.
The entire UN emergency fund for Syrian refugees is less than one percent of the annual budget of the US military.